Rarely have I seen so much vitriol hurled at a movie, beginning long before its release. I thought the idea of a reboot with an all-female cast would be cool, and although the trailers were iffy, I still looked forward to seeing the movie. I am so glad I did, because it was incredible. Fun, funny, a little bit scary, action-packed, and most of all, smart – you can’t ask for much more from a Saturday matinée.
The movie opens with Erin Gilbert (played totally straight-laced by Kristen Wiig), a nuclear engineer, dreaming of tenure at the prestigious university where she teaches. Her dreams are shattered when a book she wrote with a friend when she was young comes back to haunt her (literally). Given the sack, she hunts down said friend, Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy). Yates and her assistant Jillian Holtzman (played with wild-eyed enthusiasm by Kate McKinnon) are still researching the paranormal, but they are housed in an engineering building and have made gadgets and gizmos aplenty. The action begins pretty quickly, as soon the ladies begin getting calls of various hauntings. Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), a subway worker, calls them about a haunting along her subway route and when the team investigates, they notice that someone is creating devices that lure evil spirits all throughout New York City.
I’m not going to give away much more of the plot, but it’s a doozy. I do want to emphasize that this is not a remake of the 1984 classic. I also want to point out that while it isn’t directed by Ivan Reitman, it was produced by him. And Dan Ackroyd. Remember him? I think you do. Add to that cameos by almost every surviving member of the original film, and I can honestly assume that this film, and these ladies, had the full backing of the original Ghostbusters team. I can’t figure out all of the hate. Is it because the women look like your slightly better than average woman and not Angelina Jolie or Zoe Saldana? Is it because smart women make you uncomfortable – and yes, these ladies are very smart. Wisely, the director (Paul Feig) doesn’t make them the source of all of the comedy (although McKinnon is a screen stealer). That honor goes to Chris Hemsworth as Kevin, the world’s worst receptionist. I had no idea Hemsworth had such a funny bone; I hope he flexes it more often. Does the idea of a male bimbo turn you off? Now you know what us women have endured for decades of filmmaking.
I saw this movie with my daughter, and we both felt a connection to those four women. Like we could actually be like them — smart, adventurous, don’t need a man to rescue us. Don’t have to look like a Victoria’s Secret runway model. This film actually respects women, and in these times, we really need that.
Finally, I’d be remiss not to mention the special effects, which are dazzling and spectacular. We all know how far computer graphics have come since 1984, and it was fun seeing some of our favorite ghosts come back in better than fine form (as an aside, how one of our old friends gets taken down is one of the winningest moments of the film). Other ghosts look quite real, menacing, and scary. It added to the image of gutsiness the women have to stare down such creatures.
So, sorry/not sorry to all you middle-aged pissy fanboys who feel your childhood just got slimed on. It’s time to grow up and deal with your issues regarding women. This is a wonderful movie, and an excellent reboot. Here’s hoping for a sequel.